U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, was created in 2003 by the Homeland Security Act. It essentially enforces rules created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Its creation represents one of the largest reorganizations within the United States Government ever. Its function is to improve homeland security as well as public safety. They work to accomplish this goal by enforcing federal laws both criminally and civilly. ICE has the authority to influence laws that govern immigration, trade, border control as well as customs. Since its inception, it has grown significantly in personnel and power. ICE now has well over 400 offices and 20,000 employees of the agency. Though ICE was created with good intentions, its practices, to include ICE Detention, have torn apart families and been a source of many political debates. Currently, more than 50,000 people are in ICE detention. If you are at risk of being detained or know of someone who is, it is recommended that you connect with an experienced and reputable immigration attorney quickly.
Why Does the Government Detain Immigrants?
There are a variety of reasons that an immigrant can be detained by ICE. However, the most typical reason is that the government is worried that a particular individual is a “flight risk” and should be detained to secure their appearance in Immigration Court. Some of the more common reasons for detaining an immigrant include:
- Accused of a crime
- Failure to appear at past immigration hearings
- Pending or late removal order
- Seeking refugee status or asylum at the border without a visa
If a friend or family member has been placed in ICE detention, it can be difficult to learn information about where they are being held and for what reasons. An experienced immigration attorney can help you to determine some of these factors and offer help in fighting for their freedom.
What You Should Do If Someone You Know is Detained
If you find out that someone who you know has been placed in ICE detention, you may be able to find their whereabouts on the ICE detainee locator site. You will need information to identify them like their birthdate, home country, full name, etc. Unfortunately, not all people are immediately taken to one of the federal facilities and may be held in local jails. If they are a minor, you may need to contact your local ICE office. If they are indeed in an ICE facility, you will need to contact their deportation officer to learn about how to call and/or visit them. Ensure that you do not reveal any additional information to the deportation officer when talking to them. An immigration attorney can help you to find them before they are deported or moved out of state.
The Job of the Deportation Officer
Upon being detained in an ICE detention facility, each person is assigned a deportation officer. This officer can offer detainees various forms of release to include voluntary departure or removal with stipulations. However, it is imperative to have an experienced Immigration attorney to review any offers. Depending on the offer made, it may strip the detainee of any form of relief that they may have been entitled to before accepting the offer.
What Are the Conditions in ICE Detention like?
In theory, ICE detention facilities should be run similarly to correctional facilities. Unfortunately, that is not the case in many instances. There are no set standards and government oversight of these facilities is inconsistent. However, each person in detention has rights: medical attention (including mental health), ability to communicate via telephone, legal services free of charge, reading materials, etc. If you suspect that a detainee has not been cared for while in detention, contact an immigration attorney who can fight for their rights.
How to Get a Detainee Released
Typically a bond is set for detainees. This bond can be as low as $1,500 and can go as high as $20,000. The goal of the bond is to ensure that the person will return to court for their immigration proceedings. In some cases, bond is not available. This can be due to the detainee committing past crimes and having a record of failing to appear for court dates. If you believe that the bond is too high or the detainee should be eligible for release, you can request a bond hearing. Though it is possible to do this alone, it can be incredibly complicated. When a person is detained in an ICE detention facility, time is of the essence. Working with an experienced lawyer can help to bring detainees home quickly. Call the attorneys at Florida Immigration Law Counsel to speak with one of our deportation lawyers today.